16th May 2013

I frequently tell people that California is a “living trust state”, because the revocable, living trust is the preferred method of estate planning for most people living in California.

The alternative, the traditional will is not the favored method of California estate planning.  This is because of the long delays in the court system, coupled with the high costs of probate, that consume on average 6% to 8% of the gross estate.

Those high costs cannot be avoided because the court fees and attorneys fees are set by statute.

In other states, a traditional will is the preferred estate plan.  This is because the fees and costs are minimal and the average probate is less than a year.

Television news shows and financial network shows that come out of the East and the Midwest often paint a different picture than exists here in California because the “experts” that come on those  shows are lawyers and other professionals who are talking about what happens in other states.

If you live in California and own real estate (even if the bank really owns it) or you have combined assets over $150,000, you must have a revocable, living trust.

Dwight Edward Tompkins,
California Estate Planning Attorney.   

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